The Two Main Divisions in the Book of Isaiah

SECTION 1: Isaiah 1-39 1 ) Prophecies centered around Judah and Jerusalem (Isaiah 1:1-12:6). Included in this section are a description of the glories of the Messianic Age (Isaiah 2-4 ) and the account of the call of Isaiah (Isaiah 6 ). In Isaiah 7-12, although Isaiah is dealing primarily with various invasions which threaten Judah, reference is made to the wonderful child "Immanuel" and to the glorious age when a king of the Davidic line would institute a benevolent rule over a world without discord and wars. 2 ) Prophecies of judgment on the foreign and hostile nations of Babylon, Philistia, Moab, Damascus, Ethiopia, Egypt, Dumah, Arabia and Tyre (Isaiah 3-23 ). 3 ) The Apocalypse of Isaiah: the judgment of God against the world's sin and the ultimate destruction of the earth (Isaiah 24-27). Despite the dreadful nature of the punishment which was to come, this section is marked by a note of triumph and trust (see Isaiah 26). 4) Prophecies concerning the relations of Judah and Jerusalem to Egypt and Assyria (Isaiah 28-33). In this section is contained a series of six messages of woe, directed first against one and then another of the weaknesses of Judah's national life (Isaiah 28:1-29; 29:1- 14; 29:15-24; 30:1-17; 31:1- 32 : 20; 33 : 1-24). The character of the Messianic Age is also further described (Isaiah 32:1-18). 5 ) The doom of Edom and the redemption of Israel (Isaiah 34-35). Isaiah 35 is a beautiful picture of the ultimate triumph of the spiritual Zion. 6 ) The reign of Hezekiah (Isaiah 36-39 ). This section is in the nature of an historical appendix recording the overthrow of the Assyrian army (Isaiah 36- 37), Hezekiah's sickness and recovery (Isaiah 38), and containing a prophecy of the Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 39 ). SECTION II: Isaiah 40-66 7 ) God's sovereign and providential control over history, which will be manifest in his ultimate overthrow of Babylon at the hands of Cyrus (Isaiah 40:18). Two passages of especial interest in this section are the first "suffering servant" passage, apparently alluding to the office of the Messiah (Isaiah 42:1-9), and Isaiah's sarcastic appraisal of the folly of idol worship (Isaiah 44:6-23). 8 ) The redemption which is possible through suffering and sacrifice (Isaiah 49-55).. This division centers mainly around the three "suffering servant" passages which it contains The first is concerned with the difficulty of his task and his rejection by those to whom he is sent (Isaiah 44:1-13). The second (Isaiah 50:4-9) speaks of the obedience and trust of the "servant" and the blessings which are to follow his work. The third is the classic passage from Isaiah 52:13-53:12, which describes the life, suffering and ultimate triumph of the servant. 9 ) The triumph of the kingdom of God and God's universal reign (Isaiah 56-66). The sins which are prevalent in Isaiah's day are discussed in chs. 56-59. A glorious song of the Messianic Age fills Isaiah 60-62. The book closes, with a prayer for mercy and pardon (Isaiah 63-64) and God's answer to this prayer in the form of the promise of a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65-66).